March 22, 2014 represents the anniversary of learning that I had a possible brain tumor. After I nearly blacked out while driving home after work, I went to the ER and waited 2 hours just to get in. I told them what happened. They did several tests including a head CT. When I asked about my CT results the staff replied, “Well there is a spot on your CT scan, we do not know what it is but we will have neurology see you.” The neurologist came in did  thorough neuro-testing. He stated that the CT results like what I had represent 90% of the time meningioma, a benign brain tumor. I was discharged from the ER with a follow-up appointment in a week.
The next part of the story, which is written in previous posts, should have never happened at Mayo Clinic. Very few brain tumor survivors and caregivers that I have talked to had to wait over two months from when they found the tumor to the actual  biopsy let alone after a seizure wait over a month to get on medication. I guess looking back if I known the seriousness of the issue I would have been more proactive but I believed what the ER doctor also believed that the tumor was meningioma. In reality the tumor is an evolving astrocytoma meaning it starts as a lower grade and progresses to a higher grade (more malignant) over time.

Rochester Barbell Club members at MN LWC

Rochester Barbell Club members at MN LWC

Fast forward one year to March 22, 2014. On the same day one year later I competed in my second Olympic weightlifting competition, the Minnesota LWC Championship. Although not much of the US knows about the sport and the number of competitors at the meet was small with well less than 70 competitors, the sport is growing and becoming more popular in the US thanks in part to CrossFit. It is my new found sport and although I am not that strong relative to the competition it forces me to keep getting stronger. Weightlifting is as much of a mental sport as much as physical sport. Although you may have support from your team, coach, and the spectators, in reality it is just you, the barbell, and the referees. I repeat it is just you, the barbell, and the referees. So when a bad lift was called on my snatch on what I thought was good I became upset. I told my coach that I did not want to continue with the competition because my lifts were going to be called bad-no lift. Well, I continued with the competition with good lifts on my clean and jerk and totaled. After my competition was over, I stayed for the rest of the competition which included the rest of my club, my coach and an 8 year old boy and cheered them on to PR’s. One year later I am a weightlifter now and forever.


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